Sports

August 3, 2012

Air Force values guide U.S. Olympian

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by Laura Mowry
Staff Writer

Janay DeLoach, daughter of retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. William DeLoach and his wife Dede, practices her long jump, which earned her a place in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Janay was immersed in Air Force culture and values as she traveled in support of her father’s career for 18 years. Those values, which shaped her life continue to guide her today as she goes for gold in the Women’s Long Jump competition.

To the DeLoach family, those values are a way of life. It is an important tradition to parents William and Dede that was graciously shared with their daughter Janay.

For Janay, an all-star athlete, it was the love and support of her family, deeply rooted in faith and Air Force Core Values that harnessed and directed her dynamic energy toward success. Now 26 years old, Janay prepares to go for gold in the London 2012 Olympic Games, where she will compete on the world stage in the Women’s Long Jump event.

“Her dad was a role model for her. He worked different shifts and she saw that he was supporting his family. As a family we all had to support dad because that was his livelihood. She saw those values and standards modeled before her,” said Dede, who works in Strategic Planning and Compensation Management for the Air Force Test Center here at Edwards.

Throughout the years, Air Force Core Values were reinforced by her mother and demonstrated day after day by her father, a retired chief master sergeant who served his country for 30 years.

Although Janay was only at Edwards for a short time, she worked in the Commissary to save money for college. As she transitioned into life as a college student, her father retired from the Air Force and began working as a contractor for the 416th Flight Test Squadron.

For 18 years, Janay traveled from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., where she was born, to Hill AFB, Utah; Eielson AFB, Ala.; until she eventually arrived at Edwards AFB before going off to college at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colo.

“First of all, the Lord is the head of our lives. He guides and directs us. We really wanted our children to be well-rounded in preparation for life and when they get out on their own. That’s where family, our values and the Air Force values, play an important role,” said Dede.

Janay DeLoach practices her long jump.

Guided by those values and her loving family, Janay transformed from an energetic girl to a disciplined athlete and a kind, intelligent and humble young woman – with very big goals.

“She just had so much energy. To channel that, we enrolled her in a tumbling class, which is like gymnastics for small kids. When we finally reached the end of the course, the lady told us that there was nothing more she could do for Janay and that we needed to put her in regular gymnastics because she had so much energy,” said William.

After several years of traveling for competitions and a great deal of success in gymnastics, Janay decided to move on from gymnastics while in 8th grade.

“While at Layton Junior High School, they had talked to her about track and field. I was late for her first track meet, but I remember talking to her science teacher about this girl who was running really, really fast,” said Dede. “I kept thinking about how I missed it and wouldn’t get to know who it was. I got out there and they were talking about my daughter. I knew she excelled in sports, but I was so happy for her. That was awesome and it was pretty much the beginning.”

While in high school at Eielson, Janay excelled in track and field. All four years, she was ranked No. 1 in Alaska for the long jump and for three years beginning as a sophomore, was ranked No. 1 in the 100 meter race.

The records Janay set have yet to be broken.

Even though track and field was where Janay excelled the most, she was a stand-out athlete no matter what sport, whether it was baseball, basketball, or even cheerleading.

“The one thing she doesn’t like us to tell people is that she was a cheerleader. A neighbor across the street asked Janay to go out for the team with her and she did. Because of her gymnastics background she could do the turns and the flips, and she was the only one,” said Dede.

“Our daughter is the type of person who when she starts something, she finishes it. The neighbor ended up quitting, but Janay stuck with it. She tried out and made the team,” Dede continued.

Even before she went off to college, Janay committed herself to integrity first and excellence in all she does. While at Colorado State University, which recruited her for track and field, she pursued an education that would allow her to serve others before herself.

“Janay was recruited out of high school for track and field. We went to CSU for a visit and it was like home. She made the decision and that was it,” said Dede.

Janay received two bachelor degrees, as she double-majored in Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies. Later on, she successfully completed a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy.

Janay DeLoach receives flowers from her father, William during his retirement ceremony, after 30 years of service.

Janay DeLoach is one of the finest examples of what your life can become when you make Air Force Core Values an integral part of your life.

“We’re just so proud. We’re so happy for her. The opportunity to get on the world stage, that’s not just something that everyone gets. No matter how it turns out, we’re just happy that she has the opportunity. That’s all we want to do is provide her with an opportunity. She’s worked very hard to get to where she is today,” said William.

To her parents, Janay is a blessing.

“It is a blessing to see a young lady who is focused and determined to go after something that she wants. For more than four years she put in everything she could to get where she wanted to go. She set her goals, she knew what she wanted, and then she went after it,” Dede said.

Becoming an Olympian takes the utmost discipline, courage and responsibility. Olympians are accountable for their actions, accomplishments and decisions. As for Janay, she exemplifies all those characteristics and does so with humility and respect for others – embodying the true spirit of Air Force values.

While the world gets to know Janay, as she goes for gold in the Long Jump, she will be respected for her talent and commitment, but will be admired for her character and values. As for the Air Force Family, they will have the opportunity to cheer for one of their own.

For everything it took to get Janay to where she is today, it is the same code of honor that day after day guides the men and women who carry out the critical mission of the world’s most dominant airpower – the United States Air Force.

Team Edwards wishes Janay the best when she competes Aug. 7 in the Long Jump Qualification at 11:05 a.m. PDT, and Aug. 8 in the Long Jump Final, scheduled for 12:05 p.m. PDT.

Dede is flying to London to cheer her daughter on, while William will be there in spirit.




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